Eagles kicker Alex Henery will have a new holder and long-snapper in this weekend's game due to injuries. (US Presswire)
The three players who make up a field goal unit are a team within a team. The kicker, holder and long-snapper practice off to the side, away from the other players, and they spend long hours off by themselves getting their timing just right.
And then something like this happens.
The Eagles go into Sunday’s game against the Giants with a new holder, punter Mat McBriar, who just signed with the Eagles this week.
And they could have a new long-snapper, Kyle Nelson, who was signed to the practice squad this week because the regular long-snapper, Jon Dorenbos, has a high ankle sprain from Sunday’s loss to the Arizona Cardinals and he hasn’t practiced all week.
“It is a different mechanism when you have a different part in there,’’ special teams coach Bobby April said.
“It’s not the ideal situation,’’ kicker Alex Henery said. “But we’ll deal with it and we won’t let it become an excuse. We have to do our jobs no matter who is out there.”
Henery and McBriar worked together in training camp and the preseason, so they’re at least somewhat familiar with each other, and they’ve stayed after practice to work with Nelson, trying to do in three days what usually takes three months.
“This really is something where practice makes perfect, so we have to make up for some lost time here,’’ McBriar said. “I think I have a pretty good idea of how Alex likes things and (Nelson) is a very good long-snapper, so I don’t think we’ll have any problems.”
Injury report: Also not practicing on Thursday were LB Akeem Jordan (hamstring), T King Dunlap (hamstring) and Colt Anderson (knee). Dunlap missed last week’s game against Arizona and Demetress Bell will probably replace him again against the Giants.
Jordan has been bothered by a nagging hamstring pull for a while and he aggravated the injury vs. the Eagles. Jamar Chaney and Brian Rolle have been taking his reps at weak-side linebacker this week and expect Chaney to start on Sunday vs. the Giants.
“Both of them have played a lot,’’ defensive coordinator Juan Castillo said. “They both have been starters, so we would feel comfortable with either one, depending on matchups.”
Curry on outside looking in: The Eagles used a second-round draft pick on defensive end Vinny Curry this year and it was expected that he would be a big part of their defensive line rotation this season. Well, that hasn’t exactly worked out as planned – Curry was deactivated for the first three games of the season and he’ll probably be deactivated for the fourth game, when the Eagles play the Giants on Sunday.
But it’s not because of anything that Curry has done wrong; rather, it’s a case of the other defensive linemen doing more things right. The Eagles have four other defensive ends on the roster – Jason Babin, Trent Cole, Phillip Hunt, Darryl Tapp and Brandon Graham --and they’re all veterans who have proven they can play at this level.
“Vinny’s getting better and better and better,’’ Castillo said. “But those other guys are playing well.’’
So, it appears that Curry’s only chance to play is if another d-lineman were to get hurt and Castillo said Curry has to keep that in mind and keep in shape.
“It’s a long season,’’ Castillo said. “I wish I could say that we’re going to keep all these guys healthy the whole season, but it’s the NFL and things happen.’’
For more up-to-the-minute news and analysis on the Philadelphia Eagles from blogger Kevin Noonan, follow @CBSEagles.